We just finished talking about Facebook. If you missed the first post you can read it here and then jump into this discussion on Twitter for ministry.
Twitter users have 140 characters to communicate messages known as “Tweets.” Users can also Tweet images and cards.
Twitter has a much smaller following than Facebook, but it’s relatively easy to use. It’s also a great communication tool. If Facebook is all about relationships, Twitter might be described as being interest focused. It is, therefore, a great way to communicate information. Its direct messaging capabilities are powerful and some people like it better than texting.
Hashtags and real time posting make Twitter even more powerful, particularly for churches that want to Tweet sermon bites or communicate with parishioners in real time. Hashtags also present ways for people to follow Tweets.
Twitter has an avid following of users and more people seem to be finding it all the time. Some 36% of users are on Twitter every day. It has powerful tools for tracking trends, conversations, information and news. Everything you Tweet to your followers happens in real time and your followers will see it as long as they are paying attention to their feed. If you are “following” them you will also see what they tweet creating opportunities for two-way interaction.
Twitter seems to be particularly loved by sports fans, news junkies, and political pundits. Users tend to follow things in their interest area and appealing to interests may help churches connect with their target audience.
Twitter is powerful and relatively easy to use, but it may take some work to learn how to use it well for your church. It will likely be most effective when used regularly, daily and several times during the day. Tweets may have a short lifespan, so you may have to think about tweeting out the same information to increase visibility.
If you’re interested in exploring Twitter for ministry use, consider starting with a personal account and surveying your church’s potential target audience. If a large percentage of your target audience is using Twitter then adopt it as a tool for ministry. It’s different than Facebook, however, some of the same truths apply. Post text, links, images, and cards often. Develop a content calendar and post content that is relevant to your target audience. Remember to appeal to people’s interests, one of Twitter’s primary strengths.
Pastors might want consider using Twitter as a personal extension of their ministry. Twitter should be considered for ministry use, particularly when your audience is active there. It likely shouldn’t be the first social media platform you adopt. Facebook is still the king of the mountain. That said, some churches may have more impact using Twitter than any other social media platform, especially in certain cultures where sports and other interests dominate everyday life.
If you’re interested in trying Twitter you can start an account.